Inside His Head: Why does he tell his mother this stuff?

Dear Guys,

My husband tells his mother things I really would prefer she NOT know about me. His mother is very handy and I’m not, so he might tell her I forgot to put primer on the wall before I painted it or that I accidentally left out the sugar when I made a cake. He thinks it’s no big deal, but it’s none of her business. Plus, it makes me feel like she thinks less of me to hear that stuff, which doesn’t help our relationship. It’s also not helping my relationship with my husband because I get mad at him for blabbing about me. Please give me some advice on this.

GRAY: Well, right off the top of my head I’ve gotta say: Quit taking yourself so seriously. We all make mistakes and whether we grow from them or let them stop us is a critical distinction. I mean, we’re talking about priming a wall, not deep, dark secrets and incriminating personal beliefs.

Use your mother-in-law to your advantage. If she’s handy and you’re not then what’s keeping you from having her help you? Should she live close enough she may gladly lend a hand, and if not then she may have some sage advice to give before you start. Sure, it might not help when you miss sugar as an ingredient, but she might have the experience to share on plenty of other things.

Ask yourself why it’s not her business. If topics like this are taboo then what is your husband allowed to talk about? I’ll admit it may be different if he was discussing matters that went on behind closed doors, but these issues fall far shy of that. You’re all a family and you ought to be able to work together, laugh at others’ mistakes and know that you all love each other regardless of personal weaknesses or strengths. My mom is now a good cook, but she loves to tell the story of when she knew nothing and mixed up sugar and baking soda in a cake of her own. None of us think the less of her for it or the day when my dad came home to find her fuming in anger, spaghetti noodles slowly peeling themselves off the kitchen ceiling.

In issues like this, people only have the power over you that you give them. If you feel she thinks less of you for these things then it’s a perception you’re putting onto the issue. If your husband and his mom felt like you were a useless failure, they probably wouldn’t waste their time discussing your activities. Learn to laugh when you make mistakes. Don’t let failures dictate the language of your life. Know that sharing stories is what we do when we care about each other. And know that even I have painted walls without priming them (and I consider myself handy).

MAVERICK: Sometimes it’s hard for a spouse to realize that you’re both on the same team.

It’s particularly hard when team husband and wife competes with that first team we’re all on — mom, dad and sibs (if any).

But team wife and husband should always be first.

What your husband has to realize is his mother may love you, but she loves him way more, period. So, she likely won’t see your goofs with the same love-filter as he does. He thinks they’re funny, maybe even cute. She likely sees them as flaws in your character or upbringing or that you simply lack skills a wife requires and she’ll never forget it, ever.

You’re husband’s first loyalty is to you, not his mom and their little laughs at your expense. If his blabbing bothers you, and you make it clear to him why and that it’s hurtful, he should keep his tongue on a leash for your sake. If he refuses, don’t lower yourself to his level. Always speak lovingly and respectfully about your husband in the presence of his family. You’ll never convince his mom he’s less than perfect, you’ll only make yourself look like a complainer.

If he doesn’t stop telling tales to his mama, you might try pointing out goofs that reflect on his competence as a husband, but only do it one-on-one. Next time he hangs a picture crooked or he screams like a girl at the sight of a spider, you might say, “Boy, my dad sure would get a laugh out of that if I told him. But I won’t, because I know how much he respects you.”

Good luck. If he’ll yuck it up with his family at your expense he might need a real “light bulb” moment before he realizes his first loyalty is to you and not his mommy. Here’s hoping the light comes on real soon.

Guy #3: Seriously? I think perhaps you’re a bit insecure. It’s not like he’s outing you from the witness protection program, he’s just talking about what’s going on. He could be discussing your toilet habits, how awful you are in bed or how you ignore the kids while eating bon bons on the couch.

Instead, he’s talking about simple small mistakes that we all make. It’s just part of our daily conversation. I’ve done a lot of projects around the house through the years and trust me I’ve made a ton of mistakes. Who cares?  I’ve also done a lot of really good things. If you feel like you’ve got to present yourself as some perfect vision of matrimony you are going to have a long (or not so long) unhappy marriage.

Nowhere in your note did I see that she actually holds these things over your head or puts you down about them. If you feel incompetent because of these mistakes, that’s because you make yourself feel that way. Next time why don’t you tell her about your screw ups. Laugh about it with her. It’s ok. Just remember, in a marriage, there are only two people’s opinions that matter: yours and your spouse’s. So get over it and move on to something important…like putting on primer.

CLICK HERE for more Inside His Head advice. If you have a question for the guys, email it to us:

Radio chat: Mamas on Magic 107.9 Thursday mornings

We don’t know any parents who haven’t worried, at least a little bit, about what they might or might not be doing that will screw up their kid for life. Don’t we all cringe at the thought that one day, our “babies” will grow up and sit on a therapist’s couch, listing off all the ways we failed them when they were young?

So today we’re going to tackle the topic of Parenting Screw-Ups when we stop by Magic 107.9 for our weekly Thursday morning radio chat with hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland. Tune in between 7:25 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. to join the discussion. Or click on the graphic below to listen to the radio live on your computer.

Today we’ll talk about worries about our own parenting mistakes, and we’ll also give you some good news: Perhaps our failed attempts at perfect parenting are actually not such a bad thing. We’ll talk about how experiencing occasional disappointment and struggle as a child help kids grow up into more resilient, happy adults.

Here are some of the resources we used in preparing today’s on-air discussion. Click on each title below to read more about it.




On Your Mind: Helping a preschooler through divorce fall-out

Dear Tom,

My husband and I divorced about 6 months ago, and I’m noticing lately how clingy our 4-year-old son is to any man in our circle of friends (church friends, neighbors, etc.) His dad moved to a different town so he only sees him every other weekend. How can I help him fill the void of having consistent dad attention?

Dear Friend,

Throughout life we all go through hard transitions — some of which can even cause a lot of physical or emotional pain. It happens when people are diagnosed with a major illness, when they lose a loved one, lose a job or go through a divorce. When things like this happen, they have a profound effect on the people experiencing them directly, but they also have a ripple effect on other family members — especially kids.

It makes sense that your son is missing his dad and is acting more clingy toward male family friends who he sees more often. Remember that the impact of divorce on kids varies by the age and gender of the child. For preschool age children, the behaviors we commonly see are things like fearfulness, anxiety and sometimes even apathy about playing with others. Some kids even regress to behaviors typical of a younger child, such as needing a security blanket or a favorite toy they had when they were younger.

But here’s some good news about preschoolers like your son. Preschoolers often try to make sense of the situation. They may try to explain the situation to themselves, ask direct questions of adults, and sometimes they try to bring more order to the house by being extra well-behaved. When you’re answering questions for him, always be honest and direct. That will certainly help.

Here are some other big things to remember about kids and divorce:

  • Emphasize over and over that the divorce was not the child’s fault. Make sure your child knows that nothing he did or said caused the divorce. Emphasize that mom and dad love him just like always, no matter whether mom and dad live together or not.
  • Seeing a change in a kid’s behavior following divorce is very normal. The changes usually subside as the child gets more mature and gets used to the new household routine. If the changes don’t subside, then it might be time to get advice from a family counselor.
  • Maintain as many routines and family traditions as possible, and create new ones that you and your kids dream up together.  Movie nights, trips to the park, bike rides, walks – whatever new routine you choose should be encouraged and maintained.

Lastly, for moms, don’t beat yourself up. We all know that lots of factors contribute to a divorce. In and of itself, divorce is NOT an indicator of a character flaw or deficiency.  And it doesn’t mean you won’t have success in having a healthy relationship in the future. So give yourself some time, and be patient with yourself and your child.

I hope you’ll both be feeling better soon. And feel free to write in again with anything that’s on your mind.


Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. He has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

Tom would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback. Tom will be back each month to answer another woman’s question.

Good Gossip: Reese, Ryan, Kelly, Kirstie and more!

Welcome back to our one-of-a-kind gossip column — Good Gossip. We make it extra “good” by filtering out all that nasty rumor-mill stuff that our mamas told us never to spread around about people, even famous people. So there’s no need for guilt as you read this round-up of celebrity news. Enjoy!

It was a scary close call, but actress and fellow mama Reese Witherspoon is officially on the mend after being struck by a car while jogging. She only suffered minor injuries and has already been photographed out jogging again recently by People magazine. You can’t keep a good mama down!

As if we need another reason to love Ryan Gosling besides his acting and his rockin’ abs… Now he’s officially swoon-worthy because he also loves kids! This month Ryan was quoted by a newspaper in England as saying “I’d like to be making babies, but I’m not, so I’m making movies. When someone comes along, I don’t think I’ll be able to do both… I’ll make movies until I make babies.” And there’s more… He is also gracious about ex-girlfriends, saying “I had two of the greatest girlfriends of all time. (Those ladies were Sandra Bullock and Rachel McAdams.) I haven’t met anybody who could top them.”

Kelly Clarkson has a new album out called Stronger. She says it is her best work yet and includes some pop-dance music, singer-songwriter stuff and a bit of country, too. The former American Idol winner says she is also into yoga now. “I’m a beginner, so when I see a 50-year-old with her leg over her head, I feel like an idiot. But I’m like an Energizer Bunny, so meditation has been good for me.” Does Clarkson has a musician crush? She says she would love to sing a duet with Adele, just for a chance to harmonize with her. (We think that would be an awesome duet, by the way.)

Attention fans of Private Practice on ABC: One of our favorite docs, actor Taye Diggs,  is profiled in the recent issue of People magazine, and he gives lots of details about being a dad to 2-year-old son Walker. He said that his boy likes to dance to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” He also said that one of the most ridiculous things he has heard himself say, as a dad, is: “Do you want your pop-pop, your banky or your baba?” Translation: Do you want your pacifier, your blanket or your bottle? Taye also said that when he is alone with his 2-year-old for the entire weekend, he definitely needs a time-out with a glass of wine. (We know how ya feel, buddy.)

If you’re a fan of Dancing with the Stars, then you already know how Kirstie Alley transformed her body during the season she competed on the popular dance show. This summer she reached the 100-pound weight loss mark she had set for herself. The 60-year-old actress said she is committed to keeping the weight off and has a new size 6 dress that she tries on twice a week so she can use it as a barometer for her true size. She is still dancing regularly to maintain the weight loss, and if she needs to travel, she takes a professional dancer along with her as an exercise “luxury”, she said. (Makes us think of that old Tina Turner song called Private Dancer. Remember that one?)  Kirstie is a mom to two teenagers, Lillie, age 17, and True, age 18.

Sources: People magazine, October 3, 2011 issue

Good Gossip is sponsored by CCF Brands, a Northwest Arkansas company which makes Great Day Foods. Below is a photo of their Great Day All Natural Eggs. We love that these eggs are untouched by antibiotics, hormones or animal by-products. They come from hens that are fed vegetarian, whole-grain diets. Look for these during your next trip out for groceries, or click here for more info.






Tweens & Teens: Uncomfortable conversations

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”  ~ Brian Tracy

Welcome to the September edition of Tweens & Teens. Recently, the following question was posed to me, so I’m using this month’s article to address it. Here’s the question:

Some parents worry that, by talking about certain dangerous activities (like the choking game, drugs, etc.), they might inadvertently put ideas into their kids heads that weren’t there to begin with and trigger their kids to experiment with these things.  Should parents address issues like this head-on or wait to see if it becomes an issue with their kids?

For those who don’t know, the “Choking Game”, which has also been referred to as the “Fainting Game”, refers to intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain with the goal of inducing a temporary high. The problem is that when oxygen is cut off from the brain, via rope or belt, the person can suffocate and die.

According to Dr. Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, the fainting game is pursued primarily by children and teens “to get a high without taking drugs.” Children “aren’t playing this game for sexual gratification.”  That’s another topic and is referred to as erotic asphyxiation.

There are warning signs that children may be trying the choking game, including marks or bruises on the throat, frequent severe headaches and redness in the eyes.  Also, experts advise parents to look for belts, ropes or shoelaces tied in strange knots or found in unusual places.

But, back to the question, which is whether or not we should talk to our tweens and teens about dangerous activities head-on or whether we should wait. I bet you know my answer, especially if you’ve read my column before. The answer is…talk to them.

Think about how we talk to our toddlers about not touching hot stoves or running out in the streets. Do we wait until they get hit by a car before we tell them not to run out? Of course not. Why should talking to them as teenagers be any different? The answer to that question is…it shouldn’t. My wife and I try to be proactive as parents and talk to our children about situations before they become a problem.

Think about how many parents you’ve known that have kids who are having kids (teenage mothers if you don’t get my point). I know several, and their parents consistently avoided discussions they felt were embarrassing or because they felt inadequate about talking to their children about it.  For one family I’m thinking of in particular, this led to even more serious issues, including alcohol, drugs, theft of family property and money, and jail time.

FYI…it was the parents who pressed charges and would not bail their 19-year-old daughter out of jail, which resulted in several weeks in jail while she was awaiting her hearing. She was sentenced to a rehabilitation facility for 8-12 months following her time in jail.

Let’s take this exact case and talk about it because it gets to the heart of the question initially asked. Her family lives in another state and I’ve been friends with her father for 35 years. I remember when he was in high school, got his first job, got married, and when his daughter was born.  Needless to say, I know him quite well.

I also know that during the time his daughter was growing up, neither her mother nor father talked to her about issues in life she may face. I was over at their house numerous times when she would ask difficult or sensitive questions, only to have them avoid the question and change the topic. I then remember commenting to my wife that “It’s only a matter of time before Jane gets pregnant and begins to struggle with life.”  She was 12 at the time I first made that comment, and she was pregnant by age 17.

If you’re wondering whether or not I believe talking with their daughter would have made a difference, the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” There were so many times they had opportunities to discuss things with her but chose to avoid the conversation for one reason or another. Ultimately, this avoidance has come back to haunt them.

I hate saying that about someone that I know so well, but it’s true. I remember talking to her father about having conversations with her; however, he would simply say,” I really don’t know what to say, so I’m just going to avoid everything and hope it turns out okay.” I’ve never asked him if he regrets not talking to his daughter but I can imagine what his answer would be.

In closing, I would like all parents to think about the situation described above and determine if there’s anything you can learn from my friend’s mistakes. Just so there’s no confusion, he will always remain one of my closest friends, and I’ll always be there to support him no matter what situation arises. But in this case, not being proactive has caused him a great deal of heartache and pain that may have been avoided with a few uncomfortable conversations.

Until next month,


Click here to read previous articles on Tweens & Teens. Got a question for Dr. Jones, a child psychologist for Mercy Health? Send it to us (we won’t use your name) and we may feature it in an upcoming installment of Tweens & Teens.


Giveaway: Huge assortment of Smarties products!

By Shannon Magsam, #IamASmartie

Note from the mamas: Congratulations to Ambre Brewster, winner of the Smarties assortment! We also want to congratulate Ambre on the recent birth of her third baby, Ethan!

Peace out, mamas!

My daughter had an impromptu baking party at our house last week with several of her besties. I couldn’t help but get involved and while the girls made cupcakes, I made a peace sign cake. Since Gwen and I are Smarties Ambassadors* this month, we received a fabulous assortment of Smarties from Liz Dee at Union, N.J.-based Ce De Candy for inspiration.  There were the traditional candy roll Smarties, X-treme Sour Smarties, Mega Smarties, Smarties movie theater box, Double Lollies, Tropical Smarties, Smarties in pouches, and Smarties Candy Money. I used the traditional candy roll Smarties to decorate my groovy cake:

Needless to say, with a bowl full of Smarties candy in front of them, the girls had lots of choices for decorating their goodies. They made all kinds of curious creations, one just in time for Halloween. Mega Smartie Eyeball Cupcake, anyone?

We really enjoyed trying some of the Smarties products we don’t always see in stores, especially the X-treme Sour Smarties. I’m officially addicted. The Double Lollies were also tasty and super cute (and perfect for making those lollipop ghosts!). So would you like to win your OWN huge assortment of Smarties products? Eight different types of Smarties will be delivered to the winner’s door!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: If you’d like to UPS to show up with a big box of Smarties goodness, it’s easy to enter this giveaway (as always, right?) Just click on the comment button below and tell us which Smarties flavor you like best in the traditional candy roll. FYI, the flavor of each color is: White = Orange/Cream; Yellow = Pineapple; Pink = Cherry; Green = Strawberry ; Purple = Grape; and Orange = Orange. I think green is queen and Gwen is positive it’s pink.

ABOUT SMARTIES: Ce De Candy, Inc. has been owned and operated by three generations of the Dee family since 1949. On January 10, 1949, Edward “Eddie” Dee brought his family from England to New Jersey. Equipped with only two machines, a rented facility and a lot of ingenuity, he succeeded in founding Ce De Candy, Inc., makers of Smarties®, America’s favorite candy wafer roll.

Eddie opened his first factory in Bloomfield, New Jersey in August, 1949. He proceeded to move the company to Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1959 and finally to Union, New Jersey in 1967. Eddie also created Ce De Candy, Ltd. in Canada, opening a factory on Queen Street in Toronto, Canada, in 1963. Later, he moved the operation to a new Canadian facility built in Newmarket, Ontario in 1988 to make more Smarties® and “Rockets®” (as they are called in Canada).

Smarties® are made 24 hours a day in two candy factories located in Union, New Jersey and Newmarket, Ontario. The company produces billions of Smarties® rolls each year.

*This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias” All opinions courtesy of the mamas.

Shopping benefit for Talbey Ahlum

One of the main goals of starting a website like nwaMotherlode was to draw on the enormous power and energy a group of fellow moms can have — especially when it comes to encouraging and helping one another. When one of us is going through an especially hard time, the rest of us can rally around her and her family.

After 18 days of not being able to hold Talbey because of his critical condition, Kari finally gets a chance to snuggle her brave boy.

So we’re sending out the bat signal, mamas. One of our fellow moms here in Northwest Arkansas, Kari Ahlum, is going through a very hard time. (We met Kari several years ago at a craft fair. She makes wonderful handmade items for kids and adults, and we instantly admired her creativity and kind spirit. Her company’s name is Family Matters.)

Kari and her husband have three little boys. Last month, 3-year-old Talbey got sick with what seemed like a simple fever. Within just a couple of days, the fever quickly ramped up into a life-threatening infection.

In late August, Talbey was airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. Doctors there have been working around the clock to get the infection under control, and they were forced to amputate Talbey’s legs to save his life. You can read the details of Talbey’s incredible fight for healing on the family’s Facebook page. Click here to see it.

Today, Talbey is scheduled for an additional surgery, so let’s all keep him and the whole family in our prayers.

Friends of the family have arranged a shopping fundraiser scheduled for October 1st from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Family Matters store on 2nd Street and Walnut in downtown Rogers. The shopping selection includes the newest fall lines from the following companies:

  • Scentsy
  • Pampered Chef
  • Thirty-One
  • Mary Kay

All proceeds go to support the Ahlum family to help with Talbey’s recovery. In case of rain, the shopping event will be held at Serendipity Events, located at 117 W. Walnut Street in Rogers.

If you’re busy on October 1st and can’t make it to the shopping event, you can also help by shopping online. Below are the website addresses to visit. For Mary Kay shoppers, just be sure to make a note about the Talbey benefit in the comments section, so funds can be directed to the right place. For Pampered Chef online shoppers, order under the host name “Heather David”.

To the Ahlum family, please know that this community of mothers is praying for Talbey’s healing.

Devotion in Motion: The Country Preacher Dad Turns 50

5 ¶ Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Colossians 4:5  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Today, something wonderful is happening. It’s something I’ve looked forward to for the past 25 years.  I am turning 50-years-old today.

My excitement about turning 50 started when my sister, Cathie, was about to turn 30. We were visiting with our mother, and Cathie said she was sort of dreading hitting “the big three-oh.” My mom said, “Oh my goodness! Why are you worrying about turning 30? What YOU want to be is 50.  Everything is better when you’re 50. You look better, you feel better, and your life is in a better place.” So, ever since my mom said that, well, I’ve really been looking forward to turning 50. She seemed pretty sure of herself when she said it.

Are all the things my mother said about the half-century-mark true? To be truthful, I don’t know if I actually “look better”now that I’m 50. But I don’t give too much thought to the way I look anymore. I try to keep myself healthy, attractive, neat, and clean. But past that, there’s not much I can do to help my situation. I pretty much just look like all the other people who are turning 50. There’s just a lot less pressure than when I was 18.

Do I feel better since I’m 50? I think so. I had health problems when I was younger, and those have improved. As I get older, I find myself having more aches and pains. But all the other folks have more aches and pains, too. At least I’m fitting in with my peer group!

Is my life in a better place? In a lot of ways, it is. When my sons were babies, I had an aggravating set of problems. For instance, when Spencer was crawling, you had to watch him every second. If you turned your back, he would take the used coffee grounds out of the trash (and eat them) after he finger-painted with them on the kitchen floor.

And when Seth began crawling, if you didn’t watch him, he would put a whole roll of toilet paper in the commode. It always made me cringe because our money was tight, and it was hard to afford toilet paper. Now that my boys are older, my life still has its problems. But at least I have a different set of problems. With the boys being older, they do a lot of things to help their own situations (and mine). So is my life in a better place? Right off the top of my head, I have no major complaints.

Something I’ve noticed is that 50 is not nearly as old as I used to think it was. The years have gone by very quickly. And I don’t feel “old” at all.  Inside, I’m still the person I’ve always been — the same person I was when I was a child, even.

Most of all, I’m happy to be turning 50 because it means I’m having another birthday. I don’t understand people who throw a big fit because they’re getting a year older. Did you ever stop to think what happens when you stop having birthdays? I want to have as many birthdays as the Lord will give me, so I can finish the things He would have me do in this life.

So let’s make the most of this new week.  There are a lot of things we need to do for Him here — before we serve Him forever for all eternity.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher received an application for AARP in the mail.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to

Help us wish Brother John a happy 50th birthday! Click the button on the right if you'd like to leave a birthday message for him.

The Rockwood Files: You make me feel like dancin’

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

There are only two types of people – people who like to dance and people who would rather have their eyebrows removed with a rotary sander.

Particularly for men, dancing or not dancing is almost a defining characteristic. “Hi. My name is Joe. I’m a Caucasian male. I have a dog. I drive a Ford. I don’t dance.” Non-dancers are typically very firm in their conviction never to “shake their groove thang,” no matter how many cocktails they’ve had.

Does anybody besides me remember the show "Dance Fever" with host Denny Terrio?

But here’s my theory: Everybody, and I mean everybody, likes to dance. Not only do we like to dance, we feel a natural compulsion to do it. But some people, like the hypothetical Joe mentioned earlier, would rather step in front of a speeding bus than be caught dancing in public. I suppose it makes him feel vulnerable – kind of like being naked in the middle of junior high school. But the staunchest “non-dancer” in the world will boogie in secret when no one else is home and the song “Superfreak” by Rick James comes on the radio. He just can’t help himself.

I back up my theory with research I’ve been conducting on the job, as the full-time mother of three kids ages 9 and under. They are all proof that people are born with the dancing gene. Shortly after my firstborn started sitting up, he started dancing. I noticed it one day when I rounded the corner and found him sitting with one of his musical toys and bobbing up and down like a cork on water. When the music stopped, so did the bobbing. When the music began again, so did he.

We never taught him this little trick. We didn’t even think it would be possible for him at that age. But it came quite naturally – further support of my dancing gene theory – and he’s been boogying ever since. When he learned to stand, he got his knees involved and began doing a more energetic, full-body bobbing motion. Then he added a side-to-side sway to his dancing repertoire, waving his hands in the air and smiling as big as his face would allow. He danced to the beat of his musical toys, television commercial jingles and even the theme song to Wheel of Fortune.

Now almost 9-years-old, he migrates into the kitchen when I plug my iPod into a speaker and he does some kind of odd break-dancing moves that he says are very cool. He’s always joined by his 7-year-old brother and 4-year-old sister, who boogies so hard she often lands with a thud on her backside before scrambling back onto her feet to continue the performance.

Obviously, none of us have our natural dancing gene removed as we get older. But somewhere along the way, we decide we might look stupid if we dance. Little kids never worry about this kind of thing. Perhaps it’s puberty that makes us decide looking cool is more important than anything else, including dancing. It’s a shame, really, because dancing feels so good – a welcome break from the same old monotonous movement we normally do. A good dance session is kind of like a good cry or a good laugh – it releases natural endorphins that just make you feel better.

Some of the best times I remember from college were the nights I spent out dancing with my friend, J.C. When we first started going to dance clubs, it was with the intention of meeting our future “Mr. Right.” But after a few nights with no Mr. Right in sight, we settled for just dancing. We’d dance with every loser in the place, as long as it meant we kept on dancing. When the music stopped and the club closed, we went home happy and exhausted. We burned more calories on the dance floor than we ever did on the treadmill and had a lot more fun in the process.

These days, as I watch my little solid gold dancers boogie to the music, I hope they never become too cool to dance. I hope they keep bobbing, swaying and smiling every time the music moves them. Life is just too short to watch from the edge of the dance floor.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.

All Akimbo: Pretty little baby face

By Kim Blakely

Wow. Oh, wow! Just wow. That’s all I could muster when I saw the screen during my very first ultrasound with this surprise baby last week.

All points during my appointment had gone from the assumption that I was barely 6 weeks pregnant, based on the date of my last menstrual period, and I was warned that we might not be able to see anything.

With Mojo and Moxie, I had those very early scans – transvaginal ones, though, so I was able to see clear pictures of little beans in sacs, flashing with every sweet heartbeat.

This time, I saw a real, honest-to-gosh face.

He was waving his arms, y’all, and appeared to be looking right at me!

If I could have added a cartoon caption, it would have read, “It’s about time you noticed me down here!!”

I had been in denial before I got that glimpse. Truly, I thought we would go to this appointment to find out there was some huge mistake, a miscalculation or a disorder that would mean there was no pregnancy after all and the baby I referred to in conversation with my friends as my “imaginary baby” really was only imaginary.

Not only is he not imaginary, he’s already over 10 weeks along, with a heart rate of about 160, which means I did have a regular (read: heavy) period well after his conception. I’ve heard of this happening, but I still can’t understand how it could. My doctor surmises that there might have been another baby, a twin, that for whatever reason didn’t make it this far.

On one hand, I’m glad I didn’t know about this pregnancy as early as I did with my others. It was unexpected, unanticipated, and therefore, that last period – that probable early loss – happened without any anxiety on my part. But on the other hand, I wish I’d been able to mourn that baby at the right time.

As sad as that makes me, I can’t help but revel in the miracle of all this.

Still, I’m making up for the lack of early angst now, worrying and handwringing about whether this Wow baby is OK. I go in for a detailed anatomical scan next week but that seems like forever away while I’m waiting to find out how he’s developing. (I’m using the generic ‘he’ here, by the way … but I do think of him as all boy. No idea why.)

Prayers and good thoughts still welcome!

Getting Healthy for Good: Honey, doctors are our friends

By Laurie Marshall

Here’s the deal… I talk a lot about food and exercise here. It’s not always about losing weight, but that’s the point. My goal for this blog is to share some information about Getting Healthy, and that subject covers a LOT of ground. But today, I’m going to touch on a subject that’s probably close to a lot of mama’s hearts – men who hate doctors.

The Hubster avoids doctors and dentists like a pro. Like a NASCAR driver avoids a wall. Like Angelina Jolie avoids cameras that capture her “bad side”. (Although, I’m pretty sure she just doesn’t have one.) Like a clever mom avoids the toy aisle at Target. Okay, I’m out of comparisons…

So, it was HUGE a couple of weeks ago when he listened to me as I listed a few things that were concerning me and let me make an appointment for him. Of course, it took me finding a “syndrome” online that included all the things on the list to make it happen – but whatever! You see, in addition to the things on my list, the Hubster had also been blowing off the fact that he’s had high blood pressure for several years. I was not-so-secretly looking forward to finding out what the doctor had to say about that.

And I was not let down, because the doctor had plenty to say. Not only does the Hubster have high blood pressure (did I mention that he has been ignoring it for years??), but he has Acute Hypertension. You know, if you’re going to do something, do it right.

Watching the nurse’s face as she took his blood pressure in the clinic would have been funny if I hadn’t been worried about it for years. She looked at the little dial, and looked again… her brow furrowed and she leaned in closer. I’m guessing that reading will be a source of discussion at the clinic for a while. But my favorite part was the look of concern I was finally seeing on the Hubster’s face. Finally… FINALLY!!!… it seemed that he was taking it seriously. He seemed to comprehend that the numbers we were seeing usually accompanied a stroke, or a hemorrhage, or a need for a chest saw. And he’s willing to do something about it.

We left the clinic with medication in hand and an appointment to come back in a week. Unfortunately, that medication didn’t do the job, so now he’s taking something stronger and with less enjoyable side-effects. But guess what? He’s taking them. Every day. Without complaining. That’s all I want. Well, I’d love it if the meds made him really eager to clean the kitchen every night and buy me flowers on Saturdays, but we’ll take baby steps. Working on being around for a lot more years is plenty for now.

Which brings me to my point. (You didn’t think I had one, did you?) I think one of the best things I can do for myself and my family is develop a good relationship with our  family doctor. We mamas are encouraged to see our gynecologist each year for our annual fifteen minutes of awkward. Our kids have yearly “well-child” visits and we track their height and weight with pride. But what about our teenagers? What about our husbands? What about when we have stuff going on ourselves that don’t have anything to do with our girl-parts? It’s not always convenient, but it’s worth making time to address potential problems (like stroke-level blood pressure!?) early enough to treat them and reduce any lasting effects.

Eat well, get off your couch, and go see your doctor every now and then. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.

Look for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.

Radio chat: Mamas on Magic 107.9 Thursday mornings

This week’s giveaway — two personal training Pilates session for you and a friend — sparked this week’s radio topic. In the giveaway, we asked readers to throw names in the hat by telling us what you LIKE about your body. Women are so used to rattling off a long list of what we don’t like that we sometimes forget to remember the good stuff. Why are we so quick to point out the negative? It all comes down to body image.

So today when we stop by Magic 107.9 for our weekly Thursday morning chat with hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland, we’ll take a look at why and how body image affects us. Tune in between 7:25 a.m. and 8:25 a.m. or click the graphic at right to listen to the radio live on your computer. Here’s what’s on today’s agenda:

  • What it really means to like your body
  • Media messages about body image
  • How to nurture a good body image in your kids

Here are links to some of the resources we used in preparing this week’s on-air discussion. Click on the titles below to read more.

Audition alert: Young actors needed for Christmas Story at Rogers Little Theater

Remember Ralphie from the Christmas Story? The little boy who so desperately wanted that Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas? And remember the fishnet stocking leg lamp Ralphie’s father falls in love with? The movie is a holiday classic and soon it will come to life on the stage at Rogers Little Theater.

Rogers Little Theater is holding auditions next week for the part of Ralphie plus six other male and female roles in the production. Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, September 26th and 27th, at Rogers Little Theater in Downtown Rogers. The director is looking for kids in the age range of 8 to 12, and there is one role (Ralphie’s little brother) which is perfect for a kid in the range of 4 to 8.

You can see the scripts before the audition by having one emailed to you. Send your request to Or you can check out a script from the box office. Click here to get more info on auditioning for roles at the Rogers Little Theater.

Our good friend Kevin Lancaster is the manager of Rogers Little Theater and is also serving as narrator for this show. Kevin and his fellow actors at RLT always put on an incredible show, so be sure to check this one out. Show performances will take place on December 2-4 and December 8-11. Call the Rogers Little Theater box office at 479-631-8988 for ticket info.


Pet Parenting: X marks the (potty) spot

Dear Denise,

My inside dog has been housebroken for several years, but has started urinating in several particular spots lately (like my daughter’s bedroom floor — I’m going to have to pull up the carpet!). Why would she start doing this and how can I get her to stop?

Dear Mama:

Anytime there is a sudden and abnormal (and this would be abnormal for your dog) behavior change in your animal, your first step should be a trip to your vet. You need to rule out any physical changes or illness that could be the underlying cause- urinary tract infection, loss of bladder control due to age, diminishing eyesight, etc. After physical cause is ruled out, we can begin to think about behavioral causes.

If there are no physical ailments contributing this problem, the next step is to begin to think about any changes in the household that could be raising stress levels, and that includes stress levels of the humans because that goes right down the leash. Since the primary problem seems to be in daughter’s room, start there. Has your daughter recently changed schedules, gotten a boyfriend, having trouble in school, getting in trouble at home…it could be anything. Has your daughter moved rooms? Again, try to think of things that have changed your dog’s routine or caused stress in the home. If you can identify the source of the problem, hopefully you can correct it.

In the meantime, I would suggest putting a Comfort Zone plug-in in your daughter’s room. The plug-in emits an analog of a scent given off by females when they are nursing and can be very comforting to some dogs. If your dog is ‘comfort marking’- something dogs do to mark a space as there own, especially if they are stressed- then this could greatly reduce the incidence of urination, if not eliminate it altogether. The product also comes in a collar form. Another option is to simply close the door to your daughter’s room or block access to the areas your dog is eliminating until the problem is under control.

Good luck, and feel free to follow-up with me if you have additional questions.


Denise Holmes is a pet behavior counselor with over 25 years of experience. She focuses on family pet training and animal-assisted therapy.  She has consulted with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, helped set up a variety of local programs and produced a CD to help expecting parents introduce the family pet to a newborn,

Military Mama: Time heals all wounds … almost

By Jade Stone

I absolutely love this time of year!  The weather is always so amazing, football is just beginning, and the onslaught of holidays begins with Halloween which means .. it’s chocolate season! The Indian summer is beginning and September rushes in, bringing with it all sorts of mixed emotions.

Ushered in by 9/11, escorted out by my birthday and romanced somewhere in between by the anniversary of my husband’s return from Iraq, this September marks the 4th year that he has been home.

Sadly, we won’t celebrate this anniversary next year as he will be gone again.

At any rate, for us, it’s a time to reflect on our own growth, and to evaluate what has worked and what is not getting any better. Looking back I really can see so many positive changes. I can also see places in our lives which will never be the same. For example, when unstressed, Jay’s ability to make daily decisions is back to normal, as is his ability to be amongst larger groups of people. However the key word is “unstressed”.

What we are noticing more is how hard it is for him to stay on task, or to follow through.  His short term memory has shown no improvement whatsoever which means his ability to plan ahead is almost nonexistent. Large events like birthdays or anniversaries sneak up on him to the point that he finds himself flailing helplessly because even though it wasn’t his intention to not “celebrate” different landmark dates, ultimately he finds himself empty handed.

Now, coming from a guy who used to write sweet notes and leave them tucked away for me to find, who would send flowers for no reason at all, and who couldn’t bear to let even the smallest of special occasions go without a remark of sorts, this is hard for him to handle. Certainly it’s sad on the receiving end, but truly disconcerting on his end as well, because he wants to be that person again. But that person just isn’t there.

“That person” before Iraq had nothing more to worry about in life than what clothes to wear, or to figure out what we might do for fun on the weekend and had never laid eyes on the brutalities of war except for on the big screen which is a far cry from the real deal. Nor had “that person” ever truly had to make a snap decision as to whether an individual would live to breathe another breath or not.  But the person I know today has done all that and more, making him an entirely different human being.

Again, I can’t express to you how much better things are now, 4 years later. But it’s also hard to imagine that after so much time, things aren’t back to normal. They’re not, and the fact is, they may never be. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I have two choices. I can sit and mourn the loss of the man I married or I can choose the path of tolerance and acceptance.

It does me no good to cry over something that will never come back.  I can however, do my best to be understanding when he’s having a bad day, and to help him by teaching time management techniques. Creating short (keyword short), manageable “to do” lists as well as maintaining a large calendar with all upcoming important dates seems to help him keep up with the world that feels to him to be slipping through his grasp. The man I love and married is still in there and I catch glimpses of him when he is relaxed so I know he’s not lost.

He just needs a little extra help holding on and truly, for all he’s done for the country and been through for us, that’s the least I can do.  Because to me, he was worth it to marry 7 years ago, and he’s worth it to keep now!

Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.